And So, We Arrive at “Detective Knight: Independence”
Nothing is learned.
It’d be far too easy to call Detective Knight: Independence - the third entry in its cop trilogy - a “bad” film, which it most certainly is. Edward Drake continues to direct with desperation and a sprint-to-the-finish technical attitude that only those in debt express. Bruce Willis is merely a face to point the camera at, the story is confusing and irritating, etc. However faulty in the usual manners, another becomes more pronounced and utterly deplorable for this presentation: righteousness.
Filmmaker Edward Drake, who also wrote the screenplay, goes fire & brimstone with Independence, a go-for-broke outing from a go-get-my-coffee director. The movie opens with a bank robbery gone awry, shown through a point-of-view camera coming off of an assault rifle. From here, a rapid array of visual styles are
stolen borrowed by Drake, in a shortsighted and superficial attempt to be bigger, be better, and “be” a real good flick.
Michael Bay. Tony & Ridley Scott. Antoine Fuqua. Imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery when their work is done poorly.
Independence is to be blamed entirely on the shoulders of its director/writer, who has at least made one fairly entertaining film before. Can’t one be enough, sir? He makes Jack Kilmer, the son of the great Val, act and move around like a burn-out in his lead performance.
The young man plays a rookie EMT who eventually becomes radicalized by a podcast and starts anxiously picking off people he stumbles upon while dressed awfully as a “cop,” which he too clearly is “not.” That simple costume design though, of a poorly buttoned-up and crafted police uniform, and Jack’s nervousness while wearing that clothing in public, are the only interesting merits of Independence. For an on-edge kid who has much anger and no plan, to walk about and sweat & shake when posing as he does, made for the film’s only memorable and positive note. It likely did not come from Drake, but who cares? It was actually a good choice.
Leading up to the 4th of July, to another heist, and to an extremely telegraphed finale, Independence concludes itself with the voice-over words, half said by Bruce Willis, half by a voice-over stand-in (I think, as it sounded like that): “Happy 4th, MOTHERF***ER!! He he he.”
Considering how the first movie in his series, Rogue, tried its hand at making a fun but dramatic cop film already - and failed - I’m surprised at just how far Edward Drake would ultimately go to double-down and even triple-down on the ecstatic and fast. Ferociously, violently, and unapologetically does Independence go for thematic and action intensity, and in equal measure, it crashes into a brick wall of its own making. A brick wall constructed from a middling and unwieldy story. Maybe flashiness with a message would’ve worked had I been able to understand what the movie wanted me to at any given moment.
Cops are good? Cops are bad? Are they jerks with hearts or what? And do we sympathize with the kid or… Bruce Willis? The movie’s righteous eyes were bigger than its stomach, it seems. Let someone else carve up the turkey next time, Mr. Drake.
If you find yourself watching this, look out for the miniature clip-art version of Bruce jumping from car to car. That was funny. 0.5/5